Over 1,600 people have died in China over the last couple of months due to the Coronavirus outbreak, a devastating number that could be even worse given accusations the Chinese government has misreported the situation.
Aside from the United States government stepping in with funding to fight the epidemic, many private sector individuals and humanitarian groups are stepping in as well.
One of the groups, World Vision, is spending millions to bring aid to hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens. World Vision, a nonprofit humanitarian aid organization, already plays a large role in China, supporting over 55,000 children, and employing 300 people there.
World Vision, along with government organizations, are concerned about the increasing death toll regarding the virus, with over one-hundred reported dead last Friday alone.
According to the Christian Post, Erica Van Deren, the program manager for humanitarian and emergency affairs at World Vision, says that 39,000 out of the 55,000 sponsored children in China live in areas that are in “immediate risk” of the coronavirus.
“We’re working with our sponsor children and their families to make sure their families have the protective equipment that they need,” Van Deren said in a statement. “Then also [they need the] education and understanding of how they need to protect themselves from this and talk to kids about the fear and stress they may be having.”
World Vision has not put a set amount on their Coronavirus efforts in China, but it is estimated to be around $3.7 million.
The organization has already distributed 50,000 hospital facemasks to people in four different Chinese provinces.
“These are incredibly poor families,” she explained. “World Vision China has a history of addressing the needs of these communities.”
Not only is World Vision providing products to help contain the Coronavirus, but they are also helping educate local Chinese partners that will educate citizens on hygiene techniques to avoid the virus.
“Right now, that is sort of a gap in the response,” Van Deren explained. “World Vision is helping to fill that gap and working with the government to make sure that the people working in those homes have the protective equipment that they need.”
Van Deren also made sure to point out that the disease is primarily contained to China.
“We don’t want anybody out there to think there is a big fear of transmission being outside of China,” Van Deren said. “Really, the biggest concerns are inside China. But every office is assessing what is the World Vision capacity to respond if this were to come [to their countries] and if the host governments are ready to respond if this were to happen.”
While countries like the United States have the medical care to fight and prevent an outbreak, Van Deren pointed out that countries with “inadequate health systems” could be susceptible to the virus.
“Our biggest concern is if this were to go into countries that don’t have strong health systems or don’t have strong governments that are able to control and trace the virus,” she stressed.
“What we have right now is the grace of time. Let’s be thinking about what would happen if this were to come to a country in southern Africa and think about who would lead our response there and who would be our public health leaders.”
“In a lot of these places we have worked for a long time on infectious diseases like Zika, Ebola and HIV and we already have strong connections to the ministry of health and local health workers,” she added.
Continue to pray for those in China who have been impacted by the Coronavirus!